Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Discuss QuarkXPress color management functionality including DeviceN workflows

Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby peregrine101 » 19 Jun 2013, 02:43

Hey all:
I've dealt with this issue in the past and understand the following:
[b]If you want to import an AI EPS file and want it to look good on the monitor, then you have to have the preference: Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF onI also have been dealing with the new LAB/Pantone + issues with AI and placing those EPS files into Quark. The new LAB Pantone + (CMYK) values can be (and have been in some cases) quite different than previous Pantone colors and some output has been awful.
The latest issue I noticed is this:
[ulist][*]Create an AI file[*]Use a spot color[*]Have a box filled with a gradation of the spot from 100% to 0%[*]Export as EPS[*]Place the EPS file in Quark[*]It looks fine (remember, Color Manage is ON)[*]Export the file as a Press Quality PDF[*]The gradation bands horribly![/ulist]Then, if you:
[ulist][*]Change the preference and turn Color Manage OFF[*]Export the file as a Press Quality PDF[*]The gradation if perfect![/ulist]
Now, this is what happens when you open both PDFs in Adobe Professional and look at the colors:
[ulist][*]The PDF with Color Manage [b]ON[ulist][*]Only colors are CMYK[/ulist][*]The PDF with Color Manage [b]OFF[ulist][*]Colors are CMYK and SPOT![/ulist][/ulist]So one more experiment. I place the same EPS in InDesign, export the PDF:
[ulist][*]PDF looks great![*]The PDF has colors: CMYK and SPOT![/ulist]The question becomes:
"Should you turn off Color Manage right before you export a Press Quality PDF so both Spot color gradations look good AND both CMYK and Spot colors are in the PDF? Just like InDesign?"
I understand that the Color Manage preference was turned on by default in the newer versiona of Quark just so the EPS' show on the screen in proper color. Turn it off and EPS' look horrible (granted, sometimes you have to create a new page, turn it off, then place the EPS to see the difference).
I'm just trying to create a simple work flow that doesn't have to constantly change for every job -- so I can keep things consistent. Would love to hear any one's advice.
Thanks!!!
Robert
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby MikeWenzloff » 19 Jun 2013, 16:52

Hello Robert,OK.
I think I followed all the above correctly. I'll just report my observations.
Settings off in Preferences:
[olist][*]PDF gradations are fine.[*]EPS spot color is honored.[*]QXP native gradient becomes CMYK in the PDF.[/olist]Settings on in Preferences:
[olist][*]PDF gradations are fine.[*]EPS spot color is honored.[*]QXP native gradient becomes CMYK in the PDF.[/olist]In other words, I get the same quality of gradient either way.But here's the thing. The Press Quality setting does not honor QXP native Pantone color because it is not set in the PDF settings. But one can change that setting in the color section.
Normally (about all the time in QXP or ID) I use PDFX-1a, sometimes I use PDFX-4 in ID for the transparency in the ID file. QXP 9 doesn't have the PDFX-4 profile.Another observation. Both objects (the native QXP gradient and the EPS gradient object) hit the PDF flattened into images unless Native Transparency (or transparency is altered in the profile). This could be the viewing issue you are seeing.
Mike
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby peregrine101 » 20 Jun 2013, 03:25

Hi Mike:
Thanks for the quick response. In relation to 'your observations' -- again, this is what [b]I see when I place an EPS file that's :
[ulist][*]Created in AI[*]Using a spot color[*]That's a gradation from 100% to 0%[/ulist]Settings [b]ON:
[ulist][*]Colors of EPS on screen are perfect[*]Create Press Quality PDF and the gradation is horrible -- banding and all[*]Open PDF in Acrobat Pro and all colors have been converted to CMYK[/ulist]Settings [b]OFF:
[ulist][*]Colors of EPS on screen are off[*]Create Press Quality PDF and the gradation is perfect[*]Open PDF in Acrobat Pro and there's CMYK [b]and the Spot color[ulist][*]Similar to what I'd get if I do the same thing in InDesign[/ulist][/ulist]From what I read in your answer, you get different results than I do. It sounds like both PDFs are the same for you??? I even sent Quark a QuickTime movie of exactly what happens. I can share that here if anyone wants.
I've never used PDFX-1a. My commercial printers have always suggested Press Quality. I can surely try saving as PDFX-1a and compare my results (primarily the banding issue of the EPS graduated graphic and whether the PDF has CMYK only or CMYK and Spot).
I always try and create a useful workflow that I can always use for all situations. Makes it easier so I'm not bouncing around for every project -- thus creating a possible 'situation' for output that can result in a reprint! When QX9 came out and CS6 for AI, I ran into the new PANTONE + (LAB) colors and it was suggested I use the following work flow:
[olist][*]Create all my vector images in CMYK[ulist][*]I can leave the EPS as spot colors if I want[/ulist][*]Create all my raster images as RGB TIF images[*]Make sure the Color Manage Vector preference is ON[*]DO NOT 'right-click' each spot color and 'convert to process' -- like I used to do [*]Use Press Quality for my PDF output[ulist][*]I am wodering now if QX8 would have saved it and kept both CMYK and Spot for the PDF[/ulist][/olist]So I'm still confused...
Robert
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby MikeWenzloff » 20 Jun 2013, 04:45

Hi Robert, yes, the quality of gradient is identical in both scenarios.
You can change the Press Quality settings to include spot colors, all other settings remaining the same and save the profile for later use. That would be one solution.
Most all printers I have dealt with that are not specific in what profile or PDF type they want, use "Press Quality" PDF in a more generic sense. More as opposed to low-res, Web, etc profiles, but not the specific PDF Profile that may or may not actually be named as "Press Quality" in a specific software application. PDFX-1a and PDFX-4 (not included in Quark thus far) are standards in the printing industry. Some/many POD printers demand PDFX-3, which even Adobe never recommends for use.
As for EPS files...I rarely use EPS. Almost never. I'll use AI or an actual PDF (Quark and ID actually use the embedded PDF data in an AI file). I also use TIFF, but generally CMYK if it is not going to be a publication that is repurposed for non-print use.
If my print job is going to be CMYK with no spot color, I'll generally not use spot color and instead use Pantone's recommended CMYK equivilent values. Once in a while I will allow the conversion to happen at PDF generation, but not usually. The reason I don't is it si simply easier to me to check color values in Acrobat with the publication open beside Acrobat and I don't then need to look up the CMYK valuesin yet something else.
I use the LAB Pantone swatches in all applications. It is more accurate for the screen and conversion to CMYK. I use Pantone Color Manager to export to Adobe and Quark any changed fan decks (Pantone updates them from time to time), as well as adding new color swatches they come out with--I recently had a job using the Fashion & Home deck for instance.
Anyway, don't know if the above ramble helped or not.
Take care, Mike
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby peregrine101 » 20 Jun 2013, 08:50

Hi Mike:
Yes, it all helps. I've been doing this for 25 years and go back to a simple Mac SE! All of these changes came along when CS6 for Illustrator came out with Pantone + (LAB). I decided to stay with that figuring that was the way of the future. But Illustrator files don't always show up in the right way (if not saved correctly) in Quark, so I stay with the EPS.
Strange, if you have Color Manage on and you bring in a gradated spot colored EPS file and it outputs fine using the standard Press Quality PDF feature, you don't get banding.
I've run a few PDF tests:
[ulist][*]Press Quality: Color Manage on[ulist][*]banding and only CMYK values[/ulist][*]Press Quality: Color Manage off[ulist][*]no banding and CMYK & Spot in PDF[/ulist][*]Press Quality: Color Manage on and CMYK & Spot[ulist][*]BANDING if I don't have the Output Preview tool box open in Acrobat Pro[*]NO BANDING if I open the Output Previewtool box -- strange[*]CMYK and Spot in PDF[/ulist][*]Press Quality: Color Manage on and As Is selected[ulist][*]no banding and CMYK and Spot in PDF[/ulist][*]PDF/x-1a: Color Manage on[ulist][*]no banding and CMYK and Spot in PDF[/ulist][/ulist]For most of my full color printing, I use one commercial printer. They suggest Press Quality PDF. So I'm not sure what to do now. I printed all 5 of the above PDFs and liked the CMYK & Spot choice as well as AS IS and the PDF/X-1a.
I'm going to run a test post card with several graphics on it to test a new work flow. The one side will be PDF/X-1a while the other will be either the CMYK & Spot or AS IS choice. I'm not sure which one to try since the former shows the banding in Acrobat Pro unless I turn on the Output Preview tool. I just don't know which is the better choice for final printing.
Yea, sorry to ramble, but this is frustrating!
Robert
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby UtahLlama » 20 Jun 2013, 09:51

when you save as EPS, do you have an option about level of postscript? 2 or 3?, the thing about gradients is in the very early days the only way of presenting these to a RIP was to write postscript that contained lots of overlapping rectangles with a single colour fill, at some point there was something introduced to postscript called smooth shades or smooth shading (I forget which) where as long as your RIP was compatible you could describe the gradient as a smooth shade and do away with the overlapping rectangles. For a long time Quark would write the postscript the old way and Distiller would recognize the "idiom" and convert it to a smooth shade. In your example it seems somewhere the smooth shade is being converted to old style, it maybe that this is a side effect of JAWS when you place your EPS in Quark and CM is active JAWS gets involved to try and build the screen preview, then again when you Export to PDF JAWS is called upon to change the postscript to PDF, If you try printing postscript for later Distilling rather than Exporting to PDF you may get different results.
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby peregrine101 » 21 Jun 2013, 02:03

Hi UtahLlama!
Thank you for responding...
Illustrator's stock EPS option is Adobe PS LanguageLevel 2. '3' is also an option I can click on. Thoughts?
What is more interesting (AND FRUSTRATING[:S]) are my PDF outputs and how they appear in Acrobat Pro and print. As stated previously, when I choose Press Quality PDF output with [b]CMYK & Spot, it opens with banding unless I turn on the 'Output Preview' tool box. Then the banding disappears and it looks great. And it prints well too. With Press Quality [b]As Is selected, it's fine both in regular view and with the Output Preview tool box (even in Acrobat Reader) and prints good. But one thing I really noticed that when using [b]CMYK & Spot or [b]As Is compared to the Press Quality PDF default color value of [b]CMYK [only] is that my output matches better to what you'd expect it to be. No color shifts between the color in the EPS file I bring in to Quark and a color block I create using the spot color.

I'm just trying to find an easy to use [all the time] workflow.
I can try changing the PS to 3 to see if that makes a difference. I'll post here later.

I appreciate your suggestions and thoughts...
Robert
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby UtahLlama » 21 Jun 2013, 11:34

"But one thing I really noticed that when usingCMYK & SpotorAs Iscompared to the Press Quality PDF default color value ofCMYK[only] is that my output matches better to what you'd expect it to be. No color shifts between the color in the EPS file I bring in to Quark and a color block I create using the spot color. "
If I read this correctly, you are seeing inconsistent CMYK values in your PDF between Pantone colours in your EPS and the same Pantone colour used in a quark generated block.?
Its been like this with quark since v7, the fix is not to use names that matchQuark's color libraries, so instaed of PANTONE 282 C change it something like SPOT PMS282 C.
If you ask for just CMYK then the problem is compounded as Quark tries to convert the Lab or RGB to CMYK, it is probably starting from two different sets of numbers (one buried in the EPS, and one extracted from its color library), or possibly using two sets of profiles (one taken from the settings for the picture and one from the generic document)or possibly just failing to get hold of the EPS data entirely.
If you use [b]AsIs in theory you pass the data through without conversion and should end up with the closest result, not sure about mixing Lab and EPS, but if its possible you'd end up with [b]DeviceN Lab values in the PDF, and even if the two are different (one from Adobe one from Quark) they'll be close.
Last time I ran some tests like this Spot colour gradient in Illustrator PDF placed into InDesign (CS3 or 4 I think) I ended up with [b]nChannel Lab values in the Exported PDF, so getting the best possible result, and of coures ID and AI share the same color libraries so no chance of getting the conflict you get with Quark.
I would recommend sticking with [b]AsIs every time, and if possible only use spot colours without PANTONE names, if its not possible ask your printers to remap the PANTONEs in your PDF to a common [b]Alternate Color Spacebefore attempting proofing or converting to cmyk, but do it all in the PDF using Pitstop or PDF Worklow[:)]
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Color Manage Vector EPS/PDF on or off?

Postby peregrine101 » 24 Jun 2013, 01:22

Hi UtahLlama!
Once again, thanks for the response!
You did read it correctly. If I create an EPS file 2x2 with a spot color (using the standard Pantone names), place it into Quark, then create a 1x1 block (right in the middle of the 2x2 EPS) filling it with the spot color brought in by the EPS, I will see the 1x1 because of a color shift if I create a Press Quality PDF using the default settings. But if I create the Press Quality with either [b]CMYK + Spot or [b]As Is chosen, the 1x1 'dissapears' into the 2x2!
When CS6 first came out and started using LAB colors, I did in fact create post card sized samples and had them printed by my commercial printer to see what would happen -- it had blocks of colors (both EPS) and within Quark and photos. I'm going to do the same. But with your suggestion, I'm going to have one side produced as a [b]Press Quality PDF with [b]As Is selected and the other side will be a [b]PDF/X-1a. Our printer doesn't mention this as an option for printing so I thought I'd try it.

I'll let you know how it works! And thanks so much for you help...I really appreciate it![:D]
Robert
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